Trump Reportedly Plans To Cut Funds From Health Programs That Benefit Low Income Households To Pay For Coronavirus Response

The Republican dream: Keep cutting assistance programs until they're gone.

615 points

Just in case you thought we’d reached peak disgusting with the Donald Trump administration, I’m afraid I’m here today to ruin your afternoon. I say that because I wasn’t exaggerating in the setup here — I think what you’re about to read IS peak disgusting for the Commander-in-Cheesebrain.

This doesn’t have anything to do with something so mundane as wasting taxpayer money or paying off porn stars or Sharpie-ing out a whole new path for a hurricane. That’s pedestrian stuff. I know you read the headline here. But who are the poor people Trump is fucking over in order to pay for the coronavirus response we already would have had if he hadn’t eliminated Obama’s preparedness team out of sheer spite?

People who might literally freeze to death.


Now, take a minute and process what I figure is the biggest part of this that you might not immediately think of when you see a headline like this — namely, that normally the federal government finds “offset” cuts to spending in other areas when it needs to free up discretionary spending for something else: Democrats might cut a fraction of a percent of next year’s defense budget increase in order to finance a payroll tax holiday for low-income workers, or Republicans might hack a little off the DSHS budget to give just one more tax break to the top one percent.

This is a virus outbreak. This is not someone’s pet project. This is not a bridge to Nowhere, Alaska or new streetlamps in New Orleans. This is an emergency, and you just fund it and then figure out the details after the crisis is solved. It’s not like we don’t have money we can just use, like we have to take an advance from the boss out of the cash register.

But when you get into the exact program Trump wants to cut in exchange for not allowing the coronavirus to become the Spanish flu, maybe you can dig why I think it’s so gross.

More than a quarter of the money that the administration intends to dedicate to coronavirus response is going to be carved out of the budget for the Low Income Heating Assistance Program, or LIHEAP. That is, of course, not just heating but cooling as well, and could prove deadly for seniors in the coming summer months.

“Robbing Peter to pay Paul” is what House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer called it, only I’m not sure even that’s quite accurate, because Peter was a moderately successful fisherman who probably wouldn’t have needed the LIHEAP program despite the hot Galilee summers.

Featured image via screen capture

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615 points